Legislature’s controversial tech chief Edward Bell to be replaced next month, legislative staffers say
The Legislature’s technology chief, who came under fire Monday for his large paycheck and failure to pay his federal taxes, will be soon be replaced.
The Legislature does not plan to renew its contract with Edward S. Bell, who earned more than $1.1 million in fees since 2010, when it expires August 16, according to legislative staffers familiar with the situation.
The staffers said a current technology employee, Paul Pak, is slated to replace Bell as either interim chief information officer next month. Pak currently earns an annual salary of $125,000, according to state payroll records. It is unclear if he will receive a raise.
By comparison, Bell earned $286,000 last year as an outside contractor, double the pay for the state’s main chief information officer, John Letchford. State CIOs nationwide earn an average $134,000, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.
Bell, who lives in Beverly, has served as interim chief information officer for the Massachusetts Senate & House since 2009, overseeing projects to revamp the Legislature’s web site and other initiatives. He also has his own consulting business, 3S Con Inc.
As the Globe and other media reported Monday, the Internal Revenue Service filed liens last year against Bell and his wife, totaling $145,962 for the 2010 and 2011 tax years, according to filings with the Southern Essex County Registry of Deeds.
Bell said Monday he worked out a payment plan with the IRS earlier this year to pay his 2010 and 2011 taxes, has fully paid his 2012 taxes, and is current on his 2013 taxes, he said. However, the IRS does not typically remove liens until they are fully paid.
Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo declined to answer questions Monday about Bell’s hiring, pay level, or tax problems. But they did issue a joint statement Monday saying the legislative technology projects, including the web site redesign, were a top priority.Todd Wallack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @twallack.